Inspection- N… P? …R

by Ken Carman

  I’ve been unhappy with NPR for many years now. It’s not just the necessary, yet tedious, day long, outright abusive, fund drives… or even the fact they now have corporate sponsorships. Might as well just take ads, and I really believe the sponsorships are one of many reasons, like partisan drive appointments to head NPR, that NPR has lost its way.
  So if my major beef with NPR isn’t the fund raising, or the sponsoring, what is it?
  It’s the fact their reporting, and who they get to speak for them, has increasingly become so much like the rest of the MSM. Instead of covering their stories, their guests, objectively, completely, increasingly they head towards the shallow, even FOX-ian, end of the press pool.
  For example: their recent coverage of the Clinton E-mail “scandal” has been shameful, and very FOX, Breitbart-like. Don’t mention how the investigation has keeps getting extended right up to election time, intentionally, or not. Don’t talk about how, like Benghazi, when one investigation ends they simply drag the corpse out of the coffin, Frankenstein-like shock it back to “life:” brainless zombie that it has become. Don’t mention how nothing she did was illegal at the time, or unusual compared to other public figures from both sides. Now if I were reporting the news, or writing the news… not always the same job in radio for sure… I would include all this, only eliminate the colorful literary/zombie/Breitbartian references and “intentional or not.”
  Of course, being a columnist, I have no such journalistic guidelines. It bloody well is intentional, and like the continuous, almost 16 year long, hunting of two Democratic administrations in continuous attempts to find anything just to “get” the big guy, or in this case get the possible big gal. Doesn’t matter if there’s any real “there there.”
 To paraphrase past tense blog genius, Bartcop, “When doing something wrong, unfair and cruel keeps getting party hacks attention election time, you know damn well they will do it again and again.
 What’s right, not cruel or fair doth not apply here, nor does all the right wing phony blather about austerity. They’re perfectly willing to pick the taxpayer’s pocket to go after those who dare to disagree with them, or offer any opposition.
 Remind me how many Benghazi investigations have there been?
 Remind me again what the first Whitewater investigation concluded and how Republican Robert Fiske was kicked to the curb so a partisan hack with the agenda to get the Clintons by any means could be put in charge.
 No: fairness doth not apply to any of this. Honesty doth not apply. Governing doth not apply. All that “applies” is the mindset of political, rhetorical, terrorists who would do anything to get another political figure who, even mildly, might stand in their way.
 All that matters is continual smearing, attempts to find reasons to impeach or embarrass out of office, mislead the public. That’s all that matters.
  And if that doesn’t work a Caucus Room Conspiracy will at least keep them from achieving anything.
  But back to NPR…
  Instead of continuing their previous, pre-Bush, excellent, more objective, reporting, NPR has far too often parroted the right wing method of discussing the news…
  Like ignoring the fact these E-mails were sent before the rules were changed.
  Like ignoring the fact these E-mails were not classified at the time.
 Like ignoring the fact that Bush administration officials did the same damn thing, like Cheney, Rice, Powell, even Bush himself.
  None of this matters: mentioned little, if at all. Apparently what matters more is helping the right frame it all as if Hillary was the only one to do anything like this, was doing something highly illegal, doing something very inappropriate. NPR has increasingly reminded me of one of those mechanical parrots in the store at a Cracker Barrel that some 10 year old says foul things to and they repeat them back for all the customers to hear.
  As far as I’m concerned NPR these days might as well give the network over to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck. They damn near seem out to get the same results, politically.
  I’m sure any of the traditional kvetching about “public radio” being defunded would stop immediately if that ever happened. The Right likes nothing more than being publicly funded when it suits their needs. You know, like endless, politically driven, investigations?
  This brings into focus the recent puff piece offered by NPR with Glen Beck lecturing America on “civility,” and hosts challenging him about… nothing, nada, zilch. I thought I was listening to a Jim Ward bit on The Stephanie Miller Show, watching a Saturday Night Live bit, or being offered an on air version of Andy Borowitz hilarious satire-basedcomedy column.
  Really?
  Glen Beck on civility?
  The man who screamed at the top of his lungs over and over again at a caller to get off his program because they dared call and challenge him? The “man” so mature his modus operandi has been insulting the left, and making over the top, absurd, claims about everyone, anyone, any group he finds disagreeable?
 I know, it’s part performance, show. Used to be those who even went near this territory were kicked off the air for a long time, ala’ The Smothers Brothers. Now, even when he goes light years beyond anything the brothers did he gets kicked off then almost, immediately, brought back in via the back door many times.
  Yes, even some of the right was so humiliated by his extreme antics he was kicked off his FOX throne, oh, so briefly. What does it take to make FOX dethrone ya, even if for a short while, when you’re a highly profitable right wing pundit? A hell of a lot.
  Yet, while I very much dislike Beck’s politics, my major beef isn’t with him. Like all such pundits his sociopathic behavior is obviously fueled by cash and the adrenaline-like rush of finding an ever bigger shade of crazy than himself in an expanding audience that offers him a clueless, tinfoil hatted, drooling crazy, army of followers.
  But Beck does what he does; as much as I hate it, as much as it annoys me, as dangerous, as violence inspiring, as his act is? …viva la’ free speech.
  No, it’s the once excellent, increasingly less journalistic-based, “news,” network that would give him such a platform I am angry about. A “platform” from which he’s allowed to act, without question, as if he were a civilized human being that just wants folks to get along and have grown up discussions… something Beck himself is not capable of most of the time.
  And that network I’m referring to taint FOX.
  Even Glen Beck, in his comments, recognized the irony of him offered to paint himself as if he were reasonable, rational and just wanting to have civilized discussion. Something I’m sure he’s actually demanding from only everyone who dares to disagree with him. Certainly not himself.
  But, I could always be wrong. Miracles are supposed to “happen.” Maybe he’s flipped, or at least has regrets. Maybe he’s more eager these days to kill the golden calf he has helped others worship: his act.
  But apparently NPR has no such regrets, providing a Glen Beck-ian “P” to NPR’s credulity.
  Welcome to being just another addition to the right wing press, National (right wing) Publicity Network.

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Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.